The Labour Party in the UK has been facing severe backlash for taking a pro-Pakistan, appeasement-centric stand over the Jammu and Kashmir issue. Not only several Labour leaders have been actively involved in the anti-India protests in the UK after the abrogation of Article 370, but the party was also condemned and slammed by the Indian consulate for its open endorsement of Pakistan’s views in the recently passed resolution.
However, Labour MP Barry Gardiner has come out openly supporting India’s decision regarding Article 370. In a recently published op-ed, the Brent North MP has slammed UK politicians trying to interfere in Indian government’s policy and administrative decisions. He has slammed the UK politicians who are using the issue to divide communities in the UK.
Gardiner has discussed the complex history of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan’s attempts to create unrest and violence in the region. Further, supporting the central government’s move, he has stated that Article 370 was discriminatory towards women, gay persons and minorities in Jammu and Kashmir, kept them deprived of the rights that are granted by the Indian constitution and has deprived the region of economic development.
It is notable here that Barry Gardiner is the same MP who had taken NDTV’s Nidhi Razdan to task when she had asked him a blatant politically motivated question exposing her and NDTV’s inherent bias against the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi in 2013.
Gardiner had in 2013 invited the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi to address the UK house of commons. Nidhi had questioned him, “But you know he is also an extremely controversial figure here in India, and around the world. There has been so much controversy over him even in the UK, where there was a boycott of him in a sense until last year. He’s still not been given a visa to the United States. He is a controversial figure. You realise this would create controversy.”
To this Gardiner had slammed Nidhi’s biased views and had called out her questionable journalistic behaviour. He had even asked her why she is ignoring the Supreme Court verdict and the fact that Modi has been re-elected by the people of Gujarat again and again.
It is notable here that the Indian government had reacted strongly to the Labour Party’s resolution and had slammed the move terming it ‘unfounded and uninformed’. The Indian High Commission in London had cancelled the annual Labour Friends of India dinner event on the same day the resolution was tabled at the Labour party’s conference.
India’s foreign minister S Jaishankar had stated that there is no question of engaging any Labour party members on this issue and has added that the Labour party is just pandering its vote bank interests.